From quarterback to country star

Sam Hunt burns through music charts

By Elizabeth Chapa
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Everyone’s latest obsession in country music is the handsome singer-songwriter Sam Hunt. Besides the fact that he was brought to fame by his hit song “Leave the Night On,” there is more to his journey to fame than most people know.

Hunt played college football for Middle Tennessee State University in 2004 and University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2006 and 2007. He became a free agent for the Kansas City Chiefs after graduating, which led to him relocating to Nashville after failing to land a job in professional football, kicking off his musical career.

SamHunt1Before Hunt started releasing his own music, he was a very successful songwriter. Hunt co-wrote “Cop Car” by Keith Urban, which reached No. 4 on Billboard Hot Country Songs and No. 8 on Billboard Country Airplay, “We Are Tonight” by Billy Currington, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay and No. 12 on Billboard Hot Country Songs, and “Come Over” by Kenny Chesney, which reached No. 23 on Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on Billboard Hot Country Songs. Hunt co-wrote “Come Over” with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, which led to him to receiving an award by the ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).

In a CMT News article published Aug. 22, 2012 by Edward Morris stated that at an ASCAP event hosted by Ryan Beuschel, he announced to the crowd that “Come Over” was Osborne’s and Hunt’s first No. 1 single, McAnally’s third and Chesney’s 22nd as an artist.

Shortly after receiving the award, Hunt released his first debut single “Raised On It” independently under one of Nashville’s most successful independent publishing companies, Combustion Music. In January, Hunt signed with MCA Nashville, and “Raised On It” was also re-released under his new label. The song was available for purchase on iTunes Aug. 11.

Although it was not the first release under the label MCA Nashville, “Leave the Night On” was his first song released in June 2014, followed by a music video on VEVO released in July. At the height of his success and attention, he released his first EP on Aug. 12 titled “X2C.”

The EP allows fans to get a glimpse of what is to come from the artist in his full-length album. An article by Coti Howell published Aug. 4 on Taste of Country said, “Sam Hunt’s debut album ‘Leave the Night On’ is set for an Oct. 27 release, but fans can get an early taste via a four-track sampler, dubbed ‘X2C.’”

There are many songs by Sam Hunt that are not heard of, but can be found on his YouTube channel or on Spotify. The songs “Vandalizer” and “Make You Miss Me” were posted on his YouTube channel in March 2013 with videos recorded by a videographer. There is no production behind it.

In the “Vandalizer” video, Hunt plays the acoustic guitar, and in “Make You Miss Me” he sat behind the piano playing. It is raw and his vocals are unbelievably good. In addition, the lyrics to both songs are original and relatable. The videos were uploaded on his YouTube channel under an acoustic mixtape “Between The Pines.”

Some people may have heard him perform before his career took off when he toured with Chase Rice for a short period in 2013 or with David Nail at the beginning of 2014. Hunt appeared this summer in Michigan on Aug. 10 at the Midland County Fair with “Little Big Town.” He will be performing more shows on “Kip Moore: CMT On Tour 2014: Up In Smoke;” however, when the tour makes a stop in Detroit, Sam Hunt will not be attending.

Although Hunt is not necessarily new to the scene, his own musical work has skyrocketed in recent months. The success of his single releases and his newest EP, there is no doubt his debut album will gain popularity fast. Sam Hunt will inevitably become a common name in the scene of country music.